Referendum

At the top of this November’s election ballot, Illinois voters will see five referendum questions, tailored to gauge the public’s opinion on some hot-button issues.

The first two deal with potential amendments to the state
Constitution. One would require courts to allow more rights to victims, giving them information about hearings, access to restitution, and added protections against perpetrators.

“It’s not a new law but a mending to clarify, to give victims more rights to talk to prosecutors and be made more aware of and to give pleas to court cases,” said Political Commentator, Kenn Miller.

The second deals with voter rights, asking the public whether people should be denied the right to register or vote based on factors like race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, among other things.

“The biggest controversy is states can’t discriminate based on one’s language. This is going to cause a lot of concern because does this mean were going to have separate ballots based on the individuals home language or do you have to have an interpreter at each polling place to interpret the ballot?” said Miller.

The next three questions are simply advisory, or non-binding. One is in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to restrict birth control coverage to their employees on religious grounds. It asks whether voters believe birth control should be covered as part of their benefits package.

The second questions whether residents who make over $1 million a year should be subject to a three percent income tax increase, creating funds to be used toward education.
And the third asks voters if the state should increase the hourly minimum wage from $8.25 to $10, a prospect that gives some local business owners pause.

“When you have employers such as myself, small business owners, who are forced to pay a certain wage that really makes an impact on the decisions they’ll be able to make in terms of hiring and ultimately those costs, those higher costs that we incur to pay employees are then passed on to consumers at the end of the day,” said Rosemarie Breske Garvey, Client Relations Vice President of Blooming Color.

Though the results of these answers have no immediate impact, they do give an indication to politicians what way public opinion is swaying, helping to guide them in the future when weighing in on potential legislation.

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